For my talk at OSCON, I decided I'd present 10 ways to hack the government. The first 3 hacks were war stories about my life in Washington. For this hack though, I turned to vaporware, hacks that don't exist but should.
Hack 4 is an easy one. The FCC, believe it or not, runs their FTP server on an operating system that was old when it was released. and here is what you get: bulk% ftp ftp.fcc.gov Connected to infoserver.fcc.gov. 220- You are entering an Official United States Government System, which may be used only for authorized purposes. Unauthorized modification of any information stored on this system may result in criminal prosecution. The Government may monitor and audit the usage of this system, and all persons are hereby notified that use of this system constitutes consent to such monitoring and auditing.
220 dcFTPD server (Windows 95) ready.
Yes, indeed, it does say Windows 95. Your eyes did not deceive you.
I ran against their setup, and the network is front-ended with a cheesy firewall, a step up from the stuff you get at Staples, but not a very big step. It is probable that the FCC is really running Windows 2000 instead of Windows 95 for the OS (the two thumbprint pretty much the same and the ftpd was probably compiled on 95 and then run on 2000), but seriously! I did a on the database, and we're looking at about 15 gigs. The data is a real mess, but a mirror would certainly be a good start.
Seriously, somebody ought to give these folks a clue.
This clip has a restrictive license (no derivative works) because it reuses a small amount of footage from The Family Guy which was retrieved from YouTube and which is present here as fair use for this news series and parody of compelling public interest.